This morning was our first Community Studio: Drawing session in our newly renovated Barn Studio at the Empower Youth RanchCommunity Studio is a free art program for all ages led by SOIL SERIES artists with assistance from Empower Youth interns. Our Community Studios offer a dedicated time and place for creativity, inviting participants to broaden their definition of art and follow new pathways of thinking and making.

Our first Community Studio: Drawing was all about testing the limits of drawing and imagining what drawing can be. We considered the questions:

  • What makes a drawing?
  • What do you think makes a drawing “good” or “bad”?
  • What do you use to make a drawing?
  • How does it make you feel when you are drawing?
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A record of our thinking on the studio/lab chalkboard.

Artists we looked at included William Kentridge, The Situationist International, Nina Katchadourian, Richard Long, Sarah Sze, Andy Goldsworthy, Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Eva Hesse, Jenny Holzer, Sol Lewitt, Dan Flavin, Diana Al-Hadid, and Cai Guo-Qiang, among others. When looking at the works of these artists we tried to answer the question: Is this a drawing? Why or why not?

Our artists were then tasked with finding items around the ranch that could be used to make drawings. These drawing could take any form as long as they were not made on paper.

Here is what we came up with:

Finally, we returned to the Barn Studio and drew maps of our drawings on the ranch. Each artist’s map exhibited a unique approach to line, color, and form.

Posted by:SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing

SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing was a process of serial socially engaged research facilitated by artists Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner in collaboration with the rural community of Bethel in Appalachian Ohio. From 2017 to 2019 SOIL SERIES took many forms including conversations, public programs, projects, and collective imagining. A drawing in the most expansive sense, SOIL SERIES was an exercise in relational mark-making. By creating the conditions for new conversations and possibilities around artmaking, the public, and social imagination, SOIL SERIES proposed social drawing as the generative engine for community-initiated action.

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